The 50th day of public hearings resumed on Friday, 27th September in Monrovia, Liberia.
Witness L4 is Heard
The Defense questions Witness L4
The Defense began by reminding the witness that he was interviewed by the Finish police on 4th of May and asked him how he got involved in the case and came to be interviewed. The witness stated that over eight years ago he had joined [GJRP-1]’s organization that was recruiting fake witnesses to testify against people who participated in the war. Then, a few months ago, he was first contacted by a woman, [FNM-288] – he did not remember when exactly nor how she got his contact. [FNM-288] asked how well he knew [GJRP-1]. After he explained his relationship with [GJRP-1], she said that a group of Finnish Police were coming to Liberia to interview him. A few days later, he was contacted by someone called [FNM-289] who told the witness he was needed at the RLJ Hotel so that a Finnish intelligence officer could talk to him. The witness went and explained that he was not ‘fully’ working for [GJRP-1] but that he was researching for him; he was one of the people [GJRP-1] had recruited to lie about Agnes Reeves Taylor. The witness researched for [GJRP-1] because he lived in Gbarnga during the Charles Taylor war and was a member of National Patriotic Party (NPP). The witness said that he had been to [GJRP-1]’s office on many occasions and had witnessed the recruitment of fake witnesses.
Then the witness explained he had known [GJRP-1] long before the war but they lost contact for several years before meeting at a local tea shop on Carey Street. The witness said that [GJRP-1] had problems with Charles Taylor and was arrested and sent to prison. When he was released from prison, [GJRP-1] was taken by the US ambassador to the airport where he left Liberia. Upon his return to Liberia, he started a local NGO. After, the witness said that he met [GJRP-1] on Carey Street. They talked and went to [GJRP-1]’s office, where he gave the witness a briefing on his work and the witness started working with him, not as an employee but as a coach of fake witnesses. A while later, the witness was contacted by an American institution, and [GJRP-1] bought the witness a ticket to Ghana. In Ghana, the witness met the British Metropolitan Police headed by [FNM-290] and was interviewed about his knowledge about Agnes Taylor. The witness estimated he spent 9 days there and said that [GJRP-1] was unaware of his collaboration with the Americans. Soon after, the witness was contacted by [FNM-288]. The witness thought the Americans may have given her his information. The witness met with Thomas and was interviewed by him. The witness officially signed his statement. The witness said he was disappointed because Thomas had said every piece of information the witness shared would be protected but in fact Thomas later shared the witness’ information with [GJRP-1]. When the witness asked Thomas why he had shared information with [GJRP-1], Thomas explained that he had to hear the other side of the story. However, the witness said that after that moment [GJRP-1] knew the witness was compromised, and the witness lost the chance to get more out of [GJRP-1]. Further, the witness said that he had shared privileged information about [FNM-201] with his friend [FNM-289] but that his friend also shared that information with Thomas.
The Defense asked the witness further questions about his involvement with [GJRP-1]’s organization. The witness said he knew [GJRP-1] in the 1990s before he went to jail on charge of espionage. The witness got involved with [GJRP-1]’s organization during the Agnes Taylor trial. The witness described discussing how to create lies and the coaching process with [Employee 3] and [GJRP-1], alongside [GJRP-1]’s deputy and someone else. The witness couldn’t remember the date when he first got involved with the organization, but it was after Agnes Taylor’s case had started; when she was released, [GJRP-1] began building a second case on her. The witness said that [GJRP-1] promised him asylum in London and cash after his testimony and the trial. The witness estimated that he had met with [GJRP-1] many times before the Metropolitan Police had interviewed him because the process of coaching and creating lies took a long time.
The Defense asked the witness if he knew Agnes Taylor. The witness said he knew her well because he lived in Gbarnga during the war. The witness said he was asked to lie that Agnes Taylor tortured and killed someone in his presence. The witness said that [GJRP-1] also called him when the Massaquoi case came up and told the witness to come and testify against Massaquoi. In fact, the witness said he didn’t know Massaquoi and had never heard of him. The Defense asked if the witness knew Charles Taylor seeing as he knew Agnes Taylor. The witness said that he is a member of the NPP and lived in the same territory as Mr. Taylor all through the war, but he did not personally know either Agnes or Charles Taylor.
The Defense asked the witness if [GJRP-1] contacted him before or after Thomas’ interview. The witness said that it was before; they are friends and talked regularly, including on Whatsapp. The witness said he didn’t tell [GJRP-1] he was going to meet the police, but that they talked after the first interview on the phone. On that phone call, the witness did not tell [GJRP-1] about the police interview. Instead, the witness asked [GJRP-1] about the Massaquoi case and said he had heard that [GJRP-1] had been coaching witnesses. [GJRP-1] asked if the witness had been coaching witnesses, and he said he had not been because he wanted to hide what he had been doing and get more information from [GJRP-1]. Upon the Defense’s prompt for an explanation, the witness explained that he had been contacted by the Americans to check on [GJRP-1] because of his lies about people. The witness clarified that he was speaking about Massaquoi and others, but not about Agnes Taylor. The witness said that since Thomas talked to [GJRP-1], [GJRP-1] was aware the witness was compromised so they have not spoken since. They saw one another at the capitol building but they did not speak.
The Defense asked about [FNM-201]. The witness explained that [FNM-201] had contacted him to say that the witness was a good man and asked the witness to speak the truth. [FNM-201] knew that the witness had talked to someone about [GJRP-1]. The witness said he texted [FNM-201] informing him that Thomas had revealed information about him to [GJRP-1]. [FNM-201] told the witness to put it in writing and send it to the court for the judge to read. Finally, the witness confirmed to the Defense that prior to [FNM-288] contacting him, he had not told anyone else about his involvement with [GJRP-1].
The Prosecution questions Witness L4
When asked which American institution he was cooperating with, the witness replied that he could not reveal it because of confidentiality. The Prosecution asked how the court could be sure that the American institution existed. The witness responded that he had never been to America, but that [GJRP-1] had bought him a ticket to Ghana once. The Prosecution returned to the coaching process. The witness repeated that he had been coached to lie about Agnes Taylor. The Prosecution asked if the witness visited [GJRP-1]’s office during that time and he replied that he did. The Prosecution asked the Witness about the location of Bility’s office which he said was on Mechlin Street. However, according to the police interview summary the witness had stated that the office used to be on Mechlin Street, but they moved. The witness responded that they are now at Caldwell but could not remember which year they moved. However, the witness said that [GJRP-1] would have the correct dates.
The Prosecution turned to the witness’ interview with the British Police on April 10, 2012. The witness said that the interview took place on Mechlin Street at [GJRP-1]’s office. [Employee 3] was present at the meeting but [GJRP-1] had been with them before the interview to plan how the witness could lie during the interview. The witness confirmed to the Prosecution that he gave written statements to [GJRP-1] multiple times, and there was at least one time when [GJRP-1] was not present. The Prosecution asked why the GJRP had not revealed these written documents, and the witness responded that coaching took several days and that they had to make sure they were consistent, which is what [Employee 3] ensured. The Prosecution asked the witness to confirm whether April 10, 2012, was the date he started the process of coaching fake witnesses. The witness confirmed and said that creating lies was difficult, so they had to plan in advance. Then the Prosecution read from the witness’ interview with the Finnish Police and told the court that the witness had stated that [GJRP-1] began coaching him to lie about Agnes Taylor in 2019. The Prosecution pointed out that the witness had said early 2019, which he had changed to the end of 2019 in his second interview. The Prosecution asked whether the coaching began in 2012 or 2019. The witness said he was confused and that there was no second interview.
The Prosecution asked the witness when exactly, around the time of his interviews with Finnish police, [FNM-201] had contacted him. The witness said the information would be on his phone. Then the Prosecution stated that the witness had been interviewed twice: on the 31st of May and 5th of June 2021. In the second interview, the witness showed Thomas WhatsApp messages from [FNM-201]. The Prosecution asked the witness about [FNM-201]’s messages from March. The witness said that [FNM-201] only contacted him after he had spoken to [FNM-288], but the Prosecution pointed out that the witness had messaged [FNM-201] on the 2nd of April that nobody had contacted him. Then, the Prosecution asked the witness if [FNM-291] had contacted him, and the witness confirmed that [FNM-291] had called him once. The witness explained that he had not met him in person, but that [FNM-291] is with a Liberian local human rights group. The Prosecution told the court that on 10th April, [FNM-201] sent the witness a messaging stating that [FNM-291] was trying to contact the witness. The witness confirmed that he did not speak with [FNM-291]. The Prosecution asked when the witness was last contacted by [FNM-201]. The witness responded that it was after he did an interview with an online newspaper, Smart News Liberia. The witness confirmed that the interview was on the 21st of September 2021, and that in the interview he spoke about the same things that he had testified about; [GJRP-1] asking him to lie. The Prosecution asked the witness why he gave an interview on the subject if he was a witness in the case. The witness responded that he didn’t know he was going to testify. The Prosecution pointed out that the article was published 6 days before the witness was due to testify.
The Prosecution asked if [FNM-201] had contacted the witness again after the interview, and the witness confirmed that [FNM-201] contacted him to commend him, and that they didn’t talk further. Then, the Prosecution asked the witness why [FNM-201] asked him to contact [FNM-291]. The witness replied that it was after [FNM-201] or [FNM-291] was contacted by the Americans. The witness explained that he was supposed to talk to [FNM-291] about [GJRP-1] coaching false witnesses, and that [FNM-291] leads a local NGO. The Prosecution asked if [FNM-291] works with the American institution the witness had mentioned, and the witness responded that he didn’t know, and he also didn’t know if [FNM-201] worked for the American institution.
The Prosecution returned to when the witness started getting coaching from [GJRP-1] to lie about Agnes Taylor. The witness said that it began before 2012, and that [GJRP-1] and his staff had asked him to say that Agnes Taylor had killed and tortured people in his presence, with the purpose of convicting her. The Prosecution asked if the witness had gone on to tell people those things, and the witness said he did when the British interviewed him. The Prosecution stated that in the witness’ interview with [GJRP-1] in 2012 he did not talk about murder or torture. The witness responded that [GJRP-1] may have added some things. The Prosecution asked why the witness had not mentioned murder in answer to another question in that interview, and the witness said that the statement did not represent him and that, to his knowledge, he did not give those answers.
The Prosecution noted that the witness had said that those answers were correct in his interview with Thomas on the 10th of April. Further, the Prosecution noted that the witness had confirmed that those statements were the ones that [Employee 3] and [GJRP-1] had coached him to say and that he gave the British Police in Ghana.
The Prosecution moved on to statements made by the witness to the British police. The witness told the court that the British police made a transcript of his statement in writing and in a recording. While the witness did not get a copy of the recording, he got the transcript the day after the interview. The witness said there were parts he was not satisfied with and directed the police to remove. The witness remembered that the police had written down the issue of torture and of direct executions by Ms Taylor because [GJRP-1] was looking for a conviction.
The Prosecution asked when the witness had traveled to Ghana to speak with the British police, and the witness said he couldn’t remember. The Prosecution stated that the report held it was the 5th of February 2020 and asked the witness if he knew at what stage the Agnes Taylor trial was in. The witness responded that the case was continuing but it was just a few days before she was set free. The Prosecution told the witness that the criminal court in London dropped the case in 2019. The witness said that [GJRP-1] had told him this was because there was insufficient evidence, and he also heard that on the news. The Prosecution asked whether it was possible that the British Police were not interested in torture but were interested in how the NPFL controlled the area they were in. The witness responded that yes, and that it was what he, [Employee 3] and [GJRP-1] had planned to lie about. The Prosecution asked if it was possible that he did not tell the British police about murder or torture, but the Witness countered that he talked about them and that the court could subpoena his records.
The Prosecution asked where Agnes Reeves was when [GJRP-1] and his staff asked him to testify about her, and the witness replied that she was in London, but is now in Liberia. The witness did not know when she returned. Then the Prosecution asked the witness who Reeves Bryant was, and the witness identified her as the older sister of Agnes Taylor. The witness explained she worked for the ELBC but did not know if she was still a journalist. The Prosecution asked if the witness knew of a press conference that Agnes Taylor held on the 27th of July 2021. The witness had heard of it but did not know what was said. The Prosecution explained that Taylor had blamed her situation on Civitas Maxima, [GJRP-1] and his organization. The Prosecution asked the witness if he was aware that Taylor had accused Civitas Maxima and [GJRP-1] of finding false witnesses. The witness said he was not.
The Prosecution asked what the witness was thinking when Agnes Taylor returned to Liberia after the witness had made a statement that she had committed torture. The witness said his statement was not made public, but that he did an interview which was lies created by [Employee 3] and [GJRP-1]. The Prosecution asked if the witness had a reason to say so now seeing as Agnes Taylor had returned to Liberia. The witness maintained he had been planted inside [GJRP-1]’s operations for many years to expose lies that he had created. The Prosecution asked if the witness’ change in strategy was influenced by Agnes Taylor and her close circle blaming [GJRP-1]. The witness said he didn’t understand the question.
The Prosecution asked the witness what [GJRP-1] had told him to say. The witness responded that [GJRP-1] had asked him how well he knew Massaquoi. While the witness knew he was a UN protected witness, he told [GJRP-1] that he didn’t know Massaquoi. Then, [GJRP-1] asked the witness to participate in a trial and the witness said no. The Prosecution asked whether [GJRP-1] or anyone else had asked the witness to speak in the present trial. The witness said no, [GJRP-1] had called him and understood he was not interested. The Prosecution asked if the only thing [GJRP-1] had asked the witness about Massaquoi was whether he knew him, and the witness confirmed.
The Prosecution asked if the witness had fought for the LURD, and the witness said he never fought and never held a gun. The witness also said that he did not know [L1], who had said the previous week that he knew the witness and that he fought for LURD. The witness said L1’s statements were lies created by [GJRP-1]. The Witness confirmed that he never heard about Massaquoi during the war. The first time he heard about him was from [GJRP-1] and afterwards in the news. When asked whether he knew [L3] and [L2] the Witness declined. The witness confirmed he had been asked to lie about people he didn’t know.
The Defense questions Witness L4 further
Regarding the American institution, the Witness confirmed that he had received no instructions on what to say in trial. The witness said that he met [GJRP-1] several times prior to his trip to Ghana, where he was interviewed and told the Metropolitan police that he saw torture.
Referring to the police summary from 2012 the Defense said that the witness had said he hadn’t directly seen torture but had heard about it and asked the Witness if he had been coached to differentiate between things he saw and things he heard about. The witness said he knew the difference and what he said to the Metropolitan police was due to [GJRP-1]’s coaching. The witness then gave his consent for the Finnish court to obtain the transcript of the interview from the British police.
Turning to Massaquoi, the Defense asked why [GJRP-1] asked the witness to participate in this trial despite not knowing Massaquoi. The witness replied that he presumed [GJRP-1]’s intention was to tell lies. The witness said that [GJRP-1] asked him to take part in the trial once it became public.
The Prosecution questions Witness L4 further
The Prosecution went back to when the witness said he was contacted by [GJRP-1] about Massaquoi. The witness said that [GJRP-1] called him when the case was on trial. The witness confirmed that he did not speak to the Metropolitan police about Massaquoi, but that he told the Finish police that he and [GJRP-1] concocted lies. The witness said he had been contacted by the Americans to expose [GJRP-1]. He volunteered when [GJRP-1] needed witnesses in Agnes Taylor case. Since the Witness lived in Gbarnga during the Charles Taylor wars [GJRP-1] said he was well placed to testify. The witness’ plan was to tell the truth to the court in London but he never went.
The Defense questions Witness L4 further
According to the transcript [GJRP-1] called the witness and the call was recorded. The witness was not aware before Thomas told him. It made him angry and he immediately texted [FNM-201]. The witness recalls that he was contacted by the Americans, in the American institution, to uncover [GJRP-1] before 2012. This was not the same American institution the witness referred to in his interview to Smart News. The Center of Justice and Accountability were not the ones who contacted the witness.
Witness L2 is Heard
The Defense questions Witness L2
The Defense asked how the Finnish police contacted the witness. He said that he was with some friends, and one of the friends mentioned that someone called him and a few days later the same person called the Witness and told him that he would give his number to someone to call him. When he was at work, he received a call from one man and spoke to him about [GJRP-1]. Later, a white man and woman called him. The witness told the woman that if she wanted to speak with him, she should come to Liberia. She sent Thomas. The witness met with Thomas in Monrovia and they talked about [GJRP-1]. The Witness knew [GJRP-1] from the refugee time in Liberia. He knew him in the 1990s, from before the war because they come from the same region.
The Defense asked when the witness last had anything to do with [GJRP-1].
The witness said that last year [GJRP-1] asked him to testify against Massaquoi and said he would give the Witness $15,000 or asylum. The witness refused because he did not know Massaquoi. The witness said [GJRP-1] went to other people and some agreed, but the witness did not know them. The witness did not see [GJRP-1] again. The witness did speak to other people about [GJRP-1]’s request. The Defense then asked whether the Finnish police showed him photos and the Witness said yes and that he recognized [GJRP-1] in them.
The Prosecution questions Witness L2
The Prosecution referred to the friend who shared the witness’ number with the Finnish police and established his name is [FNM-292]. The Prosecution asked how close the witness is with [GJRP-1]. The witness replied that he knows who [GJRP-1] is and that he was in a ULIMO organization but that he does not know what he does presently. The Prosecution asked if it were possible that [GJRP-1]’s job is to look for witnesses of war crimes. The Witness responded that it was possible considering the Alieu Kosiah and Jungle Jabbah cases for which [GJRP-1] took people to go testify. The Prosecution asked if it were possible that [GJRP-1] approached the witness for the same purpose and the witness confirmed that it was. The witness explained that [GJRP-1] had approached him about an incident at a mosque on Duport road where the witness’ friend had died.
The Prosecution asked if [GJRP-1] explained where he would get the money he was promising or the asylum. The witness did not know. The Prosecution asked the witness if he had ever heard of an arrangement where a person who testifies in a trial gets asylum and the Witness replied that [GJRP-1] wants to fool people. The witness explained that [GJRP-1] could not give the money he was promising and was asking the witness to lie. The Prosecution echoed that to the witness’ mind, asking someone to testify about someone was asking someone to lie. The witness confirmed that was the case.
The Prosecution referred to the witness’ earlier statement that he met [GJRP-1] the previous year and asked whether he remembered what he had told the Finish police in 2021. In the summary by the Finnish police the witness had said that he met [GJRP-1] two years ago and the Prosecution established that they met for [FNM-293]’s funeral in 2019. The Prosecution asked if the Witness knew L1 and the witness confirmed that he did; that they come from the same tribe. The witness recalled that L1 told him that [GJRP-1] asked him to be witness in a case as well. L1 said that [GJRP-1] wanted people to go and lie and the witness replied that he thought the same thing. The witness confirmed that [GJRP-1] only asked him to testify against Massaquoi. The Witness did not know L3 and L4.
Finally, the Prosecution asked if the witness had heard about [GJRP-1] coaching people to falsely testify on the internet or TV. The witness replied that he has a video on his phone in which a man, speaking in Mandingo, says that [GJRP-1] told him to lie about Martina Johnson. The Prosecution asked to have the video.